Saturday, 13 February 2016

A Visit to Vamos! Social Club, Newcastle Upon Tyne

I wasn't feeling that good today and didn't want to leave the house.  And the weather ... the weather had been less welcoming than I would have liked.  A walk by the sea would have been nice.  But a walk by the sea in heavy hail and sleet wasn't particularly appealing.  But the weather improved and I forced myself out.

In the city centre I was heading into sensory overload.  Not pleasant.  But rather than go straight home I decided I'd wander past a cafe I've passed before, walk through the door and see if I could cope with sitting there and having a drink before fleeing the busyness of Newcastle.

I am so grateful that I chose to do this.  Grateful enough that this cafe trip was my entry for the Sunday Assembly gratitude group today.  Forty-four days into the year and so far I've only missed one day.  Possibly I'm the most obsessive poster of gratitude there.

Vamos!  It's great.  And it's currently not busy at all during the day.  I guess they make their money from the evenings and the events that are run there.  In fact for the majority of time I was there I was the only customer.  That's a pity because they deserve more custom but the location isn't conducive to people accidentally finding the place.

It's on Market Street in the centre of Newcastle in the building that also houses Breeze Creatives, directly opposite Broadacre House.  Opening hours are Wednesday to Saturday from noon until two in the morning.  For more official information, their facebook page is regularly updated with all the events that happen there.

There was music playing.  It wasn't quiet but it wasn't excessively loud.  Today I could cope with it.  The music sounded like Cuban dance band music along the lines of the Buena Vista Social Club.  Whether it was Cuban or not I have no idea but it was that style.  And that made it easier for me to cope with than other music because the percussion is well, percussion, so there isn't a pounding bass overpowering everything and the rhythmic structure is more interesting than an average pop or rock track.  Plus I happen to like the Buena Vista Social Club.

I ordered a drink.  There is alcohol available and hot drinks but today I fancied Fentimans Rose Lemonade which a lot of places don't sell even if they stock Fentimans drinks.  And then I gave into temptation and ordered a bocadillo, a Spanish sandwich, with good spicy sausage, grilled onions, and rocket.

And I sat and soaked in my surroundings.

The view into the cafe from the very comfortable sofa I was sitting on.

The view out of the cafe from my comfy sofa.  The top of the Laing Art Gallery can be seen in the centre of the reflected cross.

Almost obligatory picture whenever anyone creates a blog post about a cafe.  Table photo with my drink.

And then I wandered round the cafe and took more pictures.  Lots more.  These are some of them.  It's a really cool place.  It deserved to be photographed.

What better way to relax in Newcastle than on a tropical beach?

Behind the bar.

Sunken seating area in the centre of the cafe.

Looking across the sunken area towards the bar.

Art.  There is much art in Vamos!  And even a little photography gallery.

Where there are dull concrete pillars, let there be much paint applied.
Love this.  It's behind the record decks used for club nights.

Love this too.  Frida Kahlo portrait.

So I left.  More relaxed than when I entered.  I'll go back again and sit and drink and enjoy the atmosphere.  Maybe there will be evening events I want to go to too.  Sometimes there is very cool live music.  I know that Hannabiell has played at something there and I want to get to see her at some point when my brain allows such things.  And one of the people working there and preparing the place for tonight told me that there is a meditation group there every week.  That's worth trying too in the very near future.

As I left I looked back into the cafe at where I'd been sitting.

Farewell Vamos.  I think perhaps this signage is right.  I did reach my destination:  My destination being any great place that I can sit quietly and relax, read and think.

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